"We need to end mass incarceration so that we can focus on the root of the issues, and begin to look at solutions, as opposed to contributing to this punishment paradigm."
Senior Director of Education and Programs at Columbia University’s Center for Justice
Commit yourself to #DropTheFBomb and refuse to use “felon” or any demeaning labels when talking about people who are or were incarcerated. Encourage others to #DropTheFBomb too!
Tips for being conscious of your language when referring to people directly impacted by incarceration:
- Always use nonjudgmental language that honors the dignity and worth of each person, such as a “person who is incarcerated” or a “person who is formerly incarcerated”
- Avoid using stigmatizing language such as inmate, prisoner, felon, offender, convict, ex-con, or criminal
Read this open letter from Eddie Ellis on the Question of Language.
And check out these additional resources on language from the Marshall Project and the Osborne Association.
Support Directly Impacted Families
Please follow and support these organizations doing critical work related to directly impacted families:
- New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) at the Osborne Association – NYCIP created a wonderful Resource Toolkit including a list of Recommended Books For and About Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Hour Children
- New Hour for Women and Children – Long Island
- Echoes of Incarceration
Support Groups Working to End Mass Incarceration
And prioritize those that center the leadership of people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, especially cis and trans women and gender expansive people who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. As you search for efforts to support, be sure to check out these powerful campaigns, coalitions, and organizations.